What It Feels Like to Be a Mega-Commuter

by Frank Roche on March 12, 2013

in Business, Humor

crazy train in india

I’ve been a commuter my whole life. My shortest commute was about 20 minutes each way to work. My longest was two-and-a-half hours each way. And I did that every day. Took the 5:50am train out of a western suburb of Philadelphia; changed trains on the platform in Philly; and made my way to New York City. Then I had a 20-minute walk on top of that commute. Turn around and take the 6:30pm train back, which put me at my home train station at 9:05pm. Lather, rinse, repeat.

Mega-commuting wears you out. ABC News says, “The Census Bureau has dubbed nearly 600,000 workers who have one-way commutes of at least 90 minutes and travel 50 miles or more “mega-commuters” in their annual American Community Survey released today.” Whew! I was one of those once.

In the beginning, long commutes can be entertaining. I’ve clocked thousands of hours on Amtrak and SEPTA. I’ve read a library’s worth of books. I went from being a middling crossword puzzler to playing in the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament. I took several audio courses in Italian. And when I finished that, I moved onto Spanish. I met the prime minister of Mongolia. I sat across from Andy Rooney.

I was also on four trains where guys died of heart attacks. Those were long commutes. So was the one where the train I was on hit someone on the tracks.

At the end of the day, mega-commuting is tough. But in this economy, I think people won’t even blink twice about it.

It could be worse: They could have to take the train in that photo.

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